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Superdata downgrades VR forecast again

Rift and Vive fulfillment issues, poor public awareness cited as firm cuts further 22% from this year's sales prediction

Superdata has lowered its expectations for virtual reality revenues in 2016 for the second time in as many months. The market intelligence firm today revised its 2016 global VR hardware and software forecast down 22 percent from $3.6 billion to $2.9 billion. Its projection at the beginning of the year had been $5.1 billion.

The revision came with the release of the firm's "Virtual Reality and the Next Killer App" report, which identified a number of reasons for the downgrade, among them recent production and fulfillment issues that have affected the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and even the Samsung Gear VR. The report says about 13 million Americans intend to purchase a VR headset this year, but Superdata is only expecting shipments of 7.2 million.

Of those 7.2 million, the Gear VR is expected to see the widest adoption, with 3.5 million units expected to ship this year. PlayStation VR is next with projections of 2.6 million units, followed by a combined 1.1 million units for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift (although Superdata acknowledges that number could be higher if HTC and Oculus solve their production issues).

Consumer awareness around VR is also unexpectedly low, according to Superdata director of research and head of VR/AR strategy Stephanie Llamas.

"The general public are mostly unaware of Virtual Reality with 50 percent of Americans showing no interest in or knowledge of VR," Llamas said. "Broad consumer adoption relies on building awareness, but today nearly 80 percent of consumers only occasionally or never hear about VR."

The report says only 28 percent of Americans have heard of PlayStation VR, and that represents the highest awareness in the field. Oculus Rift is next with 22 percent awareness, followed by Gear VR (21 percent) and HTC Vive (5 percent).

Price is another hurdle for the field of VR contenders. Of those consumers aware of VR, 26 percent said they're too expensive.

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Latest comments (11)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.A year ago
Keep going. Getting closer but keep going.
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Michael Vandendriessche Studying Computer Science, K.U. LeuvenA year ago
I think VR needs more time to mature. Even the reduced forecasts sound very optimistic to me.
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Renaud Charpentier Game Director, The Creative AssemblyA year ago
Please please don't pop that bubble so soon after a 99% VR centric GDC...
Would be too sad for the prophets of the "go VR or die" church, a recent branch of the "go Social or die" church, itself an affiliate of the "go my way or die" franchise.
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Show all comments (11)
James Berg Games User Researcher, EA CanadaA year ago
Vive is not yet ready for the general public. Getting it up and running, and then keeping it running, is a challenge. Got mine on Monday, and I've spent an inordinate amount of time Googling answers to frequent issues. I love the thing, but it's the most frustrating awesome thing I've ever owned.
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Tudor Nita Lead Programmer, Gameloft RomaniaA year ago
@James,

The Occulus is the same and I expect the PS initiative will not be without its own set of issues. So far, from my point of view, the Gear is the only one that is in any way usable by non "core" fans and enthusiasts. However, last I checked, the software that can showcase it was really lacking for the Gear. Doubt that will change soon.

Even in our circle of mostly tech enthusiasts, I've yet to meet an owner that describes his VR purchase as anything other than a "dust collector". Fun gimmick at first, but very unwieldy and ultimately too much to bother with.

I'm hoping this generation will gather enough interest to warrant a second, better one.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Tudor Nita on 21st April 2016 9:05pm

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James Berg Games User Researcher, EA CanadaA year ago
You mean people with Rifts/Vives have them collecting dust? Seems a bit new for that to be the case.

I've got a GearVR as well, and it's neat, but it's very much a toy. The phone just doesn't have the processing power to do a lot, and you have no good input devices, so gaming is very minimal.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft GermanyA year ago
@Renaud:
Remember back in 2013 when some people were like "In the next years nobody will play in PC, all will be mobile phones and consoles and next gen consoles will be dead on arrival". I learned to better not trust people that use the words "everyone will play in..." or "nobody will use..." without a logical explanation. Just like when you get a driver license; you know that the answers containing "Always" and "never" are the wrong ones.

VR has potential, a lot. But without awareness and proper marketing, people will not be very proactive when it comes to paying the price of the device (Or the PC upgrades when required) So far only gamers are aware about this, and not all are convinced; a lot of people fear a future of social/casual/whatever games.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 22nd April 2016 7:23am

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Renaud Charpentier Game Director, The Creative AssemblyA year ago
@Alfonso:
Haha, yes, you are right, I had almost forgotten the church of "PC is dead", a sect that has been active for the last, well, 20 years :)
Their recent conversion to "Consoles are dead" didn't work either... hard is the life of prophets...
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Tudor Nita Lead Programmer, Gameloft RomaniaA year ago
You mean people with Rifts/Vives have them collecting dust? Seems a bit new for that to be the case.
Some of the gear we've got in our circle is fairly old DK1, DK2, Dev. Gears, etc. But that's besides the point. Not so sure about the Gear being a toy. We've been using it with wireless controllers and if there would be more (any) meaningful software, it might actually be a usable alternative. That's even after factoring out the harware issues themselves ( FOV and resolution on older devices ).

Not trying to make a general point here. Merely a personal observation. The cables + camera/ sensor setup is what killed this VR generation for us.The main buzz-word in VR circles is "immersion" and everyone seems to be ignoring the very intrusive elephant on their necks/ shoulders and the other one ( where available ) which tends to snap your viewpoint whenever you're out of sensor range.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Tudor Nita on 22nd April 2016 12:35pm

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Nick Parker Consultant A year ago
Not sure most of the industry cares about the VALUE of the VR hardware market. It's the hardware (headset) UNIT sales to create an installed base we target. Both software volume and value are also important so I'd like to see Superdata concentrating on getting these right. Alternatively IHS Technology has some realistic forecasts.
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James Berg Games User Researcher, EA CanadaA year ago
@Tudor Gotcha, that makes sense. The issue with Gear + wireless controllers is that there are so few that will have them, which means no software gets dedicated to it, which means nobody buys them, and the loop of nothing-happens continues.

Cables are definitely an issue for the Vive, but only in some experiences. I've been playing a lot of the launch lineup, and Holopoint is the only game that it's been impactful or even really noticable for me.
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